9 Dec 1921

9 December 1921

Chalet des Sapins, Montana-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Dearest Brett,
   Your photographs have come. I am embarrassed by them and for this reason. I don't feel its quite fair to give you my opinion unless you are certain - unless you remember - its no more than the opinion of one of the public. All I know about painting is that I like certain things - they seem to me to have ‘come off', or the artist has ‘brought it across'. Strangeness doesn't matter as long as one feels that. Its the only criterion I have to go by. But you see its not much of a one. I like your flowers best. Best of all the White Gloxinias. No. I should like the Asters equally. I feel the colour is very lovely in them. Your painting - as I know it - depends very much on colour. Thats what makes it so hard to really judge by photographs. I don't really like Ottoline. You seem to have tried for subtlety in the face but there is not enough and so its weak. And the expanse of chest is ugly to me. It doesn't look living. The head doesn't look as though it belongs to it. Its not really Ottoline or a pretty lady; its a kind of giantess. That may be an ‘aspect' of Ottoline but I don't think it is what you aimed at conveying. The Dolls depend so greatly on colour for their decorative effect that its fearfully hard to know what to say. I like the way you have painted the little dish and the bowl. Theres a feeling for dolls in it, a naivete - awfully nice - and the head of the black doll seems to me very solid. But the off arm worries me. But without colour it is impossible to really see this picture. Its true I think the other doll's face is not quite right. It looks flabby. But isn't that the photograph? And the painting of the dress doesn't look intentional enough; it looks too not considered enough. [To Dorothy Brett, 11 December 1921.]